Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room
Finding New Joy in the Carols with Elizabeth Rice Handford

The Christmas carol Joy to the World begins so sweetly:

Joy to the World!
The Lord has come!
Let earth receive her King!

Except that’s not what happened when Jesus came. The earth didn’t receive her King.

Many prophets had predicted the birth of the Lord Jesus centuries before He was born. They prophesied the town where He would be born, the genealogy of His forebears. His virgin birth, the appearance of the star, and even the exact year He would be born. The wise men in Babylonia had counted the days, because they were so eager for Christ’s coming. When they saw the star, they knew Jesus had been born. They traveled that arduous three-months journey to come to worship Jesus, God Himself, born with a human body.

So how could it be that that precious baby, born to be the Savior of the world, slept in a feeding trough in a stable, when a desperate Joseph could find no room in the inn?

Why, oh, why?

Because most of us are afraid of an intimate relationship with God. We find it inconvenient to reckon with our sin. We’d rather not think about it. It’s hard enough, we tell ourselves, to find time for the ordinary duties of life.

Oddly enough, we human beings really do find the time to do what we want to do. A 4-point grade-average high schooler makes time to play football. The busiest executive discovers that she can make time time to enjoy her new-born son. The most committed politician makes a way to spend time with the woman he loves. An ardent student pilot finds the time and money to learn to fly a plane. Oh, yes, we humans find the time to do what we really want to do.

Our problem is not that we have no time or room for Jesus. Our problem is that we don’t want to spend time with Him. We are uncomfortable in the presence of a holy God. We’d rather not confront our sin. We don’t prepare Him room. Yet the whole purpose of Christmas is that we be reconciled to our Great God, our Creator and Judge, because Jesus came to pay the price for our sins. Christmas is all about a sweet and holy friendship with God.

So the Christmas carol, “Joy to the World” says

Let every heart prepare Him room.

Let’s make room for Jesus in our hearts, not just at Christmas, but all through the new year. Let’s consciously set aside time to listen to His loving voice. Let’s schedule specific times to hear His voice in His Word. Let’s shut out the clamor of the opinion-makers and take the time to listen to God’s quiet voice of love and comfort. Let’s make room in our hearts for Jesus this year!

P.S. Need some ideas about where to start reading God’s Word? I suggest you start by reading the Gospel of John, maybe one chapter every day. Invest in one of the easy-to-understand, reliable translations (perhaps the English Standard, the New King James, or the New Living Translation). Before you start to read, ask God to help you understand it. Read the chapter through, then perhaps read back through it to follow the line of thought. Then ask God to help you understand what He wants you to do about what you’ve read. Let’s make room for Jesus every day of the new year!